According to reports, the NBA will being introducing 2-inch by 2-inch advertisements on the shoulders of jerseys during the 2013-2014 season. And according to my graphics editing program, that is a 2×2 square. (You might get a different measurement, depending on monitor resolution settings and other technology nonsense, but the point stands that this is about as big as the ads will be.) Somehow, I think we will be able to live with this, since the only thing that is really bugging me is that this image is a different width than every other image and video on this site.

But hey, maybe you hate the idea of ads appearing on jerseys at all. That is understandable, what with slopes being slippery and all that. If that’s the case, better buy your replica jerseys soon, because you won’t be able to get get an ad-free one in the future. From the AP:

“The view is, that the teams would need a significant time; one, to sell the patch; and number two, for Adidas to manufacture the uniforms, because the patch that would be on the players’ uniforms would also appear on the jerseys at retail,” said Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver, who is handling the uniform change.

That’s right — just like fans of every soccer team in the world, you’ll soon be buying NBA jerseys with ads on them. The potential for hilarity is huge, depending on the sponsors that each team secures, and it’s basically inevitable that a league like the NBA wouldn’t put ads on their uniforms, especially when you consider that has already happened in the WNBA and D-League, both of which are league properties. These owners aren’t going to pass up that kind of money.

As you might expect, Kevin Arnovitz nails it:

Once you get past aesthetics, it’s difficult to find a rationale against jersey sponsorships. Shorter contracts and increased player movement have given more weight than ever to the Seinfeldian notion that NBA jerseys are just laundry, vessels that carry the true product — the collective talents of the guys playing the games, jamming the ball, blocking the shots, draining the 3s. If a corporate logo doesn’t compromise those skills and actually strengthens the fortunes of the league, then it’s an idea that should be carried to fruition. [..]

Fans who don’t like the patch will have one recourse: They can refrain from buying those jerseys. More likely, that 4-square-inch patch will fade into the background because, when a sport is healthy, the event takes center stage.

I’m sure we’d all prefer it if there were no ads on our favorite teams’ uniforms, but with $100 million a season hanging in the balance, that’s not going to happen. It’ll be strange at first — though with the ads being as little as that picture up top, probably not as strange as we’re expecting — but in a couple years time, we won’t even notice these patches.

Of course, as soon as that happens, they’ll put huge ones across the front and we’ll end up cheering for the Qatar Foundation. So it goes.

Comments (30)

  1. Just like you said, it’s only a first step. In no time it’ll be huge, ugly, soccer jersey ads. This is the worst thing to happen in North America.

    • There’s probably some worse things going on in North America, but ya I don’t like the idea of these ads.

  2. Can’t wait for a TBJ-branded Bobcat’s jersey! I’m sure you won’t have to outbid many others..

  3. Are my tickets getting cheaper, commercial time being reduced, or are jersey prices going down?

  4. I hate it already.

    Even worse though are the TV show commercials that are blended into frickin’ fourth quarters.
    There’s no non-disgusting form of ads.
    I’m already paying big-time for the product, so leave me alone with these ugly ads, damnit.

    Same with UFC. Inordinate PPV prices; yet, ads all over the place. This world is screwed.

  5. If the advertising money is good, this will happen. And the patches will only get bigger if, again, the money is good. Over time the fans will get used to it just like it has happened in soccer. It never hurts for your team to get an extra 20 million a season.

    But, something to consider is that in soccer, the games are shown in 2 uninterrupted 45 minutes periods so the very costly kit sponsorships can be justified somewhat.

    The NBA has dozens of commercial break each game so what kind of money could they get? especially for a small patch. Could they reduce the amount of commercial breaks? that would be great.

  6. We should be clear: this is not $100 million per team. It’s $100 million total for 30 franchises. That’s not even good value for this. Given that half of the revenue has to go to the players, you’re talking about each franchise making a whopping $1.667 million for selling an ad on its jersey. That’s a terrible deal. Surely, the league can find another way to make that much money.

    • It’s a gateway ad. The goal is proof of concept and to ease the public into the end game which will be primary sponsorship like in the EUFA. If you start with the full package some teams will struggle with selling the sponsorship and the backlash will be too great from media and fans. You do it in stages and eventually primary sponsorship will be as commonplace as arena naming rights.

  7. Really, I’m most excited about the post that’ll run here soon with graphics of potential ads on jerseys. I mean, what if Swawn Kemp had a Trojan ad on his jersey? That’d be the best thing of all.

  8. Bullshit. Fuck patches. Fuck ads. Fuck corporations. Fuck David Stern. I hate the NBA. I wish I could quit you.

  9. I know I am in the minority here, but I think it is a good idea. I can’t wait to see the potential partnerships. Does every team sign a unique deal?
    Bank of Utah makes more sense than Utah Jazz

  10. IS NOTHING SACRED?!!!

  11. Honestly, it’s a great idea. Even if this doesn’t translate to consumer breaks on commercials, etc, it will translate to the teams receiving more profit, making it easier for teams in smaller markets to STAY PUT. For teams like Portland, Milwakee, Cleveland, Utah, Indiana, etc, this is a HUGE blessing as it gives them a bit more wiggle room when it comes to ticket sales and arena costing.
    Hopefully the NHL wont get wise to this for a few years… imagine if the Thrashers had actually been able to fiscally stay in Atlanta?! HAH!

    • Well, in the end, won’t every team have a different sponsor ? And with that a different revenue ?
      I think it may widen the gap more than closing it.

  12. Soccer has ads because they play 45 minutes without interruption. no commercials. (45 minutes!)

    there is no reason basketball needs jersey ads. they sell tons of ad space on commericials.

    very disappointing there isn’t more negative comments around this. this is the NBA thinking that its fan base is clueless to advertising revenue.

    • Exactly!

      Exactly!

      Exactly!

      Wrote it three times because it wouldn’t let me post after writing it only once.

  13. As long as they play the same game of basketball I love, I don’t think a small ad like that is too detrimental. I don’t think I want NASCAR level ad’s but a few tasteful ones are okay by me.

  14. Bad Idea. Jim ^ has it right. Soccer does this because they don’t have commercials. NBA has breaks in the game (2 per quarter!) just for commercials. We really don’t need any more ads. The end of close games are already a timeout/commercial fest.
    I will not be buying any Jersey with an Ad on it, and I hope the public responds in kind.

    Coming soon to an Arena near you…
    Please welcome yoooooouuuuurrrrrr, KIA-official car of the GOLDEN STATE, sponsored by McDolands, WAAARRRRIIIIOOOOORRRRSSSS, Presented by Pepsi….with M&Ms.

    Also-it seems like it would just increase the disparity between teams. The Knicks and Lakers will get at least 10X as much money to have some companies logo than the Grizzlies or Raptors.

  15. yep, agreed. this sucks. not only because of what That Man just wrote, but also do you know how annoying it is if your favorite team gets sponsored by a company you hate and has a stupid logo or whatnot?
    also, @ the guy who said this would be a good thing in terms of keeping small market teams, whatshisname… wait a sec…ok @pops: first of, every team will be getting money, smaller market teams will get even less money in comparison. best case scenario the overall level of money earned rises among all teams, but the gaps between small and big market teams stay the same. second: teams usually move when they want a new arena but don’t get it – which means: they don’t get the money for that FROM THE CITIES. when was the last time teams payed for areans themselves? what does that have to do with FUCKING JERSEY ADS?!?! or, teams move because they have a stupid fat new rich owner who wants to bring his team to his hometown in oklahoma anyway, regardless of how much smaller the market there is compared to, say, some northwestern region with airplanes and coffee.

    of course I see that jersey ads are kind of logical, but that doesn’t mean that all of us aren’t allowed to HATE IT! do you know how whack it is to be cheering for T-mobile or vodafone? I’m a soccer fan too, I have a couple jerseys – ads suck! I’m not even super left-wing or whatever – ads have NOTHING to do with your team! they just suck!

  16. Well NBA jerseys are the most loose outfit I have ever seen..

  17. First world problems.

    Just watch the damn game and shut up.

  18. I will never buy a jersey with a corporate advertisement on it.

    • They should keep the jerseys that are purchased by fans free of advertisements. I can’t imagine any fan wanting to wear a jersey that makes them look like some companies bitch.

  19. Soccer does this because they don’t have commercial breaks ?
    Give me a f.. break.
    Soccer has done this decades ago to generate more money, simple as that.
    Now, with these economic times the NBA is looking for more resources to get money from, which is an absolute logical thing to do. Name me one player that would want a cut on his paycheck for not having to play with a jersey that has a company name on it ?
    This is what last years lock out brought us, don’t agree, thank the players for that!

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